COME AND DRINK

Jn.7:37 – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.

This simple verse is the very heart of the practical Christian life. Jesus had a way of getting right to the heart of a matter. Here He describes the basic receiving and pouring out that is the essence of our Christian faith. A number of years ago the Lord brought me and our church into a much needed time of renewal. I was totally unaware of what had happened right under my nose. My congregation, starting with me, had forgotten the basic essential step one of the Christian life. What would that be? If anyone is thirsty come and drink. There it is, Christianity 101. Receiving consistently from the Lord is the life flow of our faith. Here is how Augustine described drinking 1600 years ago.

“The Lord, therefore, cries aloud to us to come and drink, if we thirst within; and He says that when we have drunk, rivers of living water shall flow from our belly. The belly of the inner man is the conscience of the heart. Having drunk that water then, the conscience being purged begins to live; and drinking in, it will have a fountain, will be itself a fountain. What is the fountain, and what the river that flows from the belly of the inner man? Benevolence, whereby a man will consult the interest of his neighbor. For if he imagines that what he drinks ought to be only for his own satisfying, there is no flowing of living water from his belly; but if he is quick to consult for the good of his neighbor, then he becomes not dry, because there is a flowing. We will now see what it is that they drink who believe in the Lord; because we surely are Christians, and if we believe, we drink. And it is every man’s duty to know in himself whether or not he drinks, and whether he lives by what he drinks; for the fountain does not forsake us if we forsake not the fountain.”

We start with drinking, that’s when all the action starts. Our lives become like a bubbling fountain flowing out like a river of this living water that is the source of our life. It flows out of us to the other thirsty ones in our world. So our thirst results in drinking, our drinking results in an overflowing fountain, this fountain flows out to quench the thirsty in our world. Is anybody thirsty? Come and drink and you too will become an overflowing fountain.

DRINK AND DRINK AGAIN

Eph.5:18 – Amp. – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.

We just finished our annual Mardi Gras Saturation services at Victory Fellowship with special guest Pastor Rick Shelton. This was one of the most rewarding weeks for me spiritually in a long time. Pastor Rick went with the theme, spiritual saturation, all week long. If you are not familiar with that terminology I want to take a moment and share this powerful spiritual practice. Saturation means to soak in a substance until you can hold no more. Actually, that is what the Baptism in the Spirit is all about. Baptism means to immerse an object into something. Baptism in the Spirit is an immersion into the substance or person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is tangible and we can soak or saturate in Him until our lives change and miracles break out. The Life in the Spirit Commentary describes it like this.

“Paul says not, ‘be full of the Spirit’, as though one were full of Spirit in the same way that another is full of wine, but ‘be filled by the Spirit,’ with the emphasis on being filled to the full by the Spirit’s presence”, or with “the fullness which the Spirit gives.”

Many Christians aren’t even aware of the availability of the Baptism in the Spirit. They think that when Jesus came into their life that was all that there was for them. The thing being overlooked is the infinite nature of God. Salvation introduces us to the world of the Spirit where multiple fillings are available and necessary. We can never get to the end of Him, heaven will be an endless unveiling of His infinite nature, including His power, beauty, goodness, and wisdom. Wuest has some interesting comments about today’s verse showing that multiple fillings and even continual fillings are available.

The Holy Spirit filled Stephen in the sense that He controlled him. Therefore, the fullness of the Spirit has reference to His control over the believer yielded to Him. “Be constantly being filled with the Spirit.” The interpretation is, “Be constantly, moment by moment, being controlled by the Spirit.”

So that’s what we experienced this week. I experienced a new powerful baptism in the Holy Spirit myself. Now you may think that we are wasting our time on experiential Christianity. That is far from the truth. We are now more motivated and empowered to go about the work of evangelism and discipleship. So I say go ahead and have another drink, the world needs what you have to give.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

Rev.1:10 – I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,

Have you ever been under the influence? I’m not talking about alcoholic beverages or other intoxicating substances, I am talking about the influence of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. John was obviously under the influence, of in the Spirit. Why does the Lord do these types of things by the Spirit? First, the Lord uses these manifestations in preparation for spiritual revelation or understanding Matthew Henry describes it like this.

“He was not only in a rapture when he received the vision, but before he received it; he was in a serious, heavenly, spiritual frame, under the blessed gracious influences of the Spirit of God. God usually prepares the souls of his people for uncommon manifestations of himself, by the quickening sanctifying influences of his good Spirit. Those who would enjoy communion with God on the Lord’s day must endeavor to abstract their thoughts and affections from flesh and fleshly things, and be wholly taken up with things of a spiritual nature.”

We obviously aren’t going to write new books of the Bible but the Lord does use the influence of the Spirit when He wants to speak to us. Maybe you should stir yourself this Lord’s day, maybe the Lord is about to speak into your life.

The influence of the Spirit also is used by the Lord when we are under attack or are going through unusually difficult times. Here is how Albert Barnes describes this.

“He was not yet under the prophetic ecstasy, but was, though in a lonely and barren island, and far away from the privileges of the sanctuary, permitted to enjoy in a high degree the consolations of religion: an illustration of the great truth that God can meet his people anywhere; that, when in solitude and in circumstances of outward affliction, when persecuted and cast out, when deprived of the public means of grace and the society of religious friends, he can meet them with the abundant consolations of his grace, and pour joy and peace into their souls.”

So whatever circumstance you may find yourself in this Lord’s Day, get yourself under the influence. Drink in His presence as you read the scriptures, pray in the Spirit, soak in worship as you prepare to attend corporate worship. You too may find yourself in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, whatever happens from there will be above and beyond what anyone can ask or think.

THE DRINK THAT LASTS FOREVER

Rev.22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

The fact that humans get thirsty proves there must be something somewhere that will quench our thirst. Thirst is basic to being human and water is the basic substance that quenches that thirst. Is it possible that there is a spiritual parallel? I believe there is. The fact that our soul gets thirsty shows that there has to be something to quench our soul thirst. You may not identify the correct substance to satisfy your thirsting but our thirst for God is basic to our human condition. To those who meet Christ there is a taste of this living water but this taste is more of a tease than a completion. The times we encounter living water in this world points to something greater, a completion or fulfillment that awaits in the life to come. The world offers only substitutes, Christ offers a drink that is a foretaste of life to come. Here is how C.S. Lewis describes it.

“What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy. As St. Augustine said, the rapture of the saved soul will “flow over” into the glorified body. In the light of our present specialized and depraved appetites, we cannot imagine this torrens voluptatis, and I warn everyone most seriously not to try. But it must be mentioned, to drive out thoughts even more misleading—thoughts that what is saved is a mere ghost, or that the risen body lives in numb insensibility. The body was made for the Lord, and these dismal fancies are wide of the mark.”

I have to admit I have been quite surprised at the abundance and power these tastes often provide for sons and daughters in this world. I can only imagine the immensity of what these moments point to. To see Christ for myself and drink at His fountain in eternity is beyond my ability to comprehend. So the conflict still goes on inside of me, I thirst and drink and I am grateful. I know what I taste now is just a drop of the ocean of love that waits in His kingdom come.

FOUNTAIN IN YOUR SOUL

Eph.5:18,19 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Being drunk in the Spirit is not some new bizarre twist on Christianity forged in the halls of charismania. Spiritual intoxication is as old as communion or any other sacred part of our Christian faith. Even though this intoxication is often characterized by laughter and extreme joy it is saturated with the very holiness of the Lord. Actually it has erupted throughout church history often scandalizing segments of the body of Christ. It has often been connected to critical seasons for the church, equipping Christians for the persecution and temptations that are rampant in the world. Here is how Augustine described spiritual intoxication and drinking in his day.

“The Holy Spirit has come to abide in you; do not make him withdraw; do not exclude him from your heart in any way. He is a good guest; He found you empty and He filled you; He found you hungry and He satisfied you; He found you thirsty and He has intoxicated you. May He truly intoxicate you! The Apostle said, “Do not be drunk with wine which leads to debauchery.” Then, as if to clarify what we should be intoxicated with, he adds, “But be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart”. Doesn’t a person who rejoices in the Lord and sings to Him exuberantly seem like a person who is drunk? I like this kind of intoxication. The Spirit of God is both drink and light.”

Many have left the church in our generation because of a dissatisfaction that has developed in their souls. Churches have scrambled and morphed into a culturally acceptable model to try to keep the crowds. The changes in church hasn’t helped meet the nagging thirst that is in the dissatisfied souls of this age. The solutions are as old as the gospel itself, man is thirsting for God and nothing less will do. The solution for today’s world is the same as the one that has surfaced throughout history. Man is thirsty for living water, the water that becomes a veritable fountain in our souls.

SOBER INTOXICATION

Eph.5:18 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

There have been seasons of renewal all throughout church history. There are many similarities but also differences that can be observed. Two of the things that influence the way we receive and define renewal is our cultural bias as well as our theological bias. There was a powerful outpouring of the Spirit in the Roman Empire during the 3rd century after Christ. Imagine what a different world they were part of, totally different from the one we are part of today. Their view of Revival was effected by their culture just as ours is in our modern world. During the outpouring in the 1990’s I observed how theology could effect our view of Revival. I experienced the Vineyard version, the Assembly of God version, and the word of faith version; you can connect the dots. Here are two accounts of Revival from the 300’s from Cyril and Ambrose.

“They are not drunk in the way you might think. They are indeed drunk, but with the sober intoxication which kills sin and gives life to the heart and which is the opposite of physical drunkenness. Drunkenness makes a person forget what he knows; this kind, instead, brings understanding of things that were not formerly known. They are drunk insofar as they have drunk the wine of that mystical vine which affirms,“I am the vine, you are the branches”.”

“Every time you drink, you receive the remission of sins and you become intoxicated with the Spirit. It is in that sense that the Apostle said, “Do not get drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit”. He who becomes intoxicated with wine staggers, but he who becomes intoxicated with the Holy Spirit is rooted in Christ. How truly excellent is this intoxication which produces the sobriety of the soul!”

Even though there are differences in the way people respond and define outpourings of the Spirit, they are all essentially the same. Notice the similarities to what many of us have experienced. The things that stand out to me are the emphasis on joy, spiritual intoxication, the scriptures, redemption, and an emphasis on Christ Himself. People may respond differently under the anointing and have different interpretations of what it may mean; at the end of the day God has come down and refreshed our souls. Come and visit this generation Lord!

HAVE A DRINK WITH ME

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

(Is 12:3 KJV)

When I was touched with joy in 1994 and begin to experience the new wine outpouring of the Holy Spirit, I had no idea that this type of outpouring had been happening since the earliest days of the church. From the Day of Pentecost to Azusa Street, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is very similar. Recently I was reading through prophesies and testimonies I had received from Dick Mills over the years. I was struck with the testimony of how his grandmother had been baptized in the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the outpouring at Azusa Street. Here is part of her testimony.

“1906 started a revival at Azusa St. in Los Angeles that now totals 600 million believers worldwide. In 1908 a couple came to our town and ministered to a prayer group that Sally Mills (Dick Mills Grandma) was heading up in the local Methodist Church. Sally told me that when she heard the couple sharing their experience she said to herself, “I always felt there was something more for all of us than what we currently experience.” She went forward for prayer and had a dynamic encounter with her Saviour and Lord. He imparted to her the infilling and indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. It satisfied her spiritual thirst immensely. She and several other newly filled Methodists went to the Pastor and asked him if they could start a skid-row mission. He not only gave them permission but offered his services in locating a facility. The only building available was a saloon whose owner was retiring. His last night of business was Saturday. After he closed down a dozen people went in a changed a saloon into a place of worship. Their first service was Sunday afternoon. They sang over and over- “You ask me why I’m happy? You ask me why I’m free? I’ve been drinking from the wells of full salvation. Won’t you come and have a drink with me?” A lot of local winos didn’t know the saloon was gone and came in hearing a gospel song… won’t you come and have a drink with me?”

So maybe you are like Sally Mills and you recognize your need for more of God. You can see in this short testimony that the Holy Spirit satisfies and anoints for ministry. So if you are thirsty for the new wine of the Spirit, don’t be surprised when you receive the double blessing, plenty for you and enough to pour out on others. So come on, come have a drink with me.

COME DRINK!

John 4:13-14 ¶ Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

“Have another drink!” I had no idea what the preacher was talking about. He kept exhorting the crowd, “Drink. Don’t just sit there, go ahead and have a drink”. The preacher was Rodney Howard Browne and it was August of 1994. The services were packed with people, joy was in the air, and I had no idea what was going on. I saw some laying on the floor as if they were in some sort of coma, others were laughing uncontrollably, and some were crying tears of joy. I had never been in a service like this even though I had pastored a “pentecostal church” for sixteen years (actually I had started an Assembly of God in NOLA in 1979). This was full on revival and somehow this “drinking” was a major part of it. Here is something Spurgeon said about spiritual drinking.

“No waiting or preparation is so much as hinted at. Drinking represents a reception for which no fitness is required. A fool, a thief, a harlot can drink; and so sinfulness of character is no bar to the invitation to believe in Jesus. We want no golden cup, no bejeweled chalice, in which to convey the water to the thirsty; the mouth of poverty is welcome to stoop down and quaff the flowing flood. Blistered, leprous, filthy lips may touch the stream of divine love; they cannot pollute it, but shall themselves be purified. Jesus is the fount of hope. Dear reader, hear the dear Redeemer’s loving voice as he cries to each of us”

“IF ANY MAN THIRST,

LET HIM

COME UNTO ME

AND DRINK.”

I love what Spurgeon said, anyone can drink. From the preacher to the pimp, from the hooker to the nun, drinking is available for whosoever will. During those services in 1994 The Lord began to help me understand what this drinking really was. Drinking is a form of receiving. I had forgotten how to receive. This blessing of receiving was being restored to my life.
What characteristics in our lives enable us to drink? First, we have to come to The Lord empty. Many times we think we are spiritually mature and therefore we are the givers not the receivers. That was my problem and is the problem with many in the church today. Only the empty, the humble, can drink this spiritual water. We come to The Lord with empty hands and empty hearts in desperate need of Him. Another trait of those that drink is actually spiritual thirst. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty…”. Are you thirsty? It takes more than just being “open”, we have to be thirsty for God. Finally, we have to make time. Spiritual drinking has to be a priority in our lives. As we wait in humility and hunger, we will find ourselves drinking in this life changing living water.

EMPTY FIRST

He breathed on them —John 20:2

I remember a funny story about a pastor from another city who found himself in our extended revival meetings back in the summer of 1995. This pastor was actually on vacation in New Orleans when he heard about the services at Victory Fellowship. Those meetings were other worldly with hundreds of people being overwhelmed with supernatural joy. Young people and old people, rich people and poor people; they were all being consumed with the joy from heaven. This pastor came to service after service and no matter how munch he tried he couldn’t “get it”. Then after about a week of day and night services (I don’t think that was the vacation plan) this pastor got major really touched. I was in my office after midnight and I heard a commotion in the hallway. I went out to see this pastor drunk, laughing and being carried to his car. He was totally intoxicated with the Spirit. The next day he told us what had happened. He said he was kneeling and the Lord said that He couldn’t be filled because he was already filled with himself. He had to be emptied first. That was it, from that moment he was caught up in the glory of the Lord. Here are some thoughts from A.B. Simpson on being filled with the Spirit.

“The beautiful figure suggested by the words “He breathed on them” is full of simple instruction. It is as easy to receive the Holy Spirit as it is to breathe. It almost seems as if the Lord had given His disciples the very impression of breathing, and had said, “Now this is the way to receive the Holy Spirit.”

It is not necessary for us to go to the isolation room of a hospital to have our lungs contaminated with impure air. All we need to do is to keep in our lungs the air we inhaled a minute ago, and it will kill us. All the pure elements have been absorbed from it, and there is nothing left but carbon and other deadly gases.

Therefore, if we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must first be emptied not only of our old sinful life, but of our old spiritual life. We must take a new breath every moment, or we will die. God wants us to empty out all our being into Him. Then we can take Him in-without needing to try too hard.”
So maybe there needs to be some emptying before you can really be filled with Him. Don’t wait, empty yourself out today and make room for the glory of the Lord.

BE BEING FILLED

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Eph. 5:18,19 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

Ephesus was not much different from other port cities of the day, sexual immorality, religious idolatry, and drunken behavior were common. Paul’s words to the church were very pointed, we have a different kind of drink and a different source of enjoyment from the culture of the world. In today’s verse Paul is describing the importance of continual fillings so that we don’t become consumed by the culture of the day. New Orleans is not much different; a dose of religion, sexual promiscuity, and plenty of booze is the order of the day. This is not our world as Christians, Paul describes our source of pleasure in today’s verse. Here are some comments from Watchman Nee, sounds like China needs the power of the Spirit as well.

“Plerousthe, ‘be being filled’, is the expression here used in relation to the Holy Spirit. “Allow yourselves to be continually made full.” This describes not a crisis as at Pentecost but a condition we are to enjoy all the time. And it is not a matter of spiritual gifts and manifestations outwardly but of the personal presence and activity of the Holy Spirit of God within our spirits—the oil that guarantees the lamp shall burn on undimmed, long after the midnight hour if need be. Moreover, it is not alone a private, individual thing. It is something we share with other Christians. Paul speaks of making melody together. Some of us may well find it easier to sing solos than to keep in time and harmony in a choir or even in a duet! Yet the fullness of the Spirit is given to us with this very object, that we shall sing together a new song before the throne.”

Née emphasizes the need for joining other Christians in our spiritual drinking. It is in these corporate gatherings that the Holy Spirit comes in the most profound ways. Paul describes singing together as our form of drinking this new wine. He also describes it as “be being filled”. This is what church is, worship takes a prominent role as we drink together in joyful songs. Rather than seeing worship as so kind of preliminary that we can take or leave, we view it now sat the moment when we are all filled with the power of His presence.